Practical Tips to Avoid and Identify a Fake Website – Cross Check Before Falling Into a Scam

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Last updated on March 26th, 2024 at 07:05 am

Do you want to know “How to check Website is Legit or Fake”?

Ever stumbled upon a website and wondered, “Is this for real?”

Checking if a website is legit or fake is like being a detective online.

It’s crucial because, just like in the real world, there are good places and, unfortunately, some not-so-great ones on the internet.

Did you know that around 65% of people worry about online scams, and 68% have fallen victim to fake websites?

Spotting a fake website is like having a shield against online fraud.

Plus, Google reports that it blacklists around 10,000 websites every day for phishing, so knowing how to check a website’s legitimacy can keep you safe.

20+ Ways to Check If a Website Is Legit or Fake

legit or fake website

1. Verify HTTPS Protocol

Think of the HTTPS protocol as a security guard for your online information.

Websites with HTTPS protect your data, like login details or payment information.

Surprisingly, 93% of phishing attacks happen on websites without HTTPS.

So, always look for that little padlock in the address bar.

2. Examine the Website URL Structure

Just like you check street signs to find the right address, examine the website’s URL.

Legit sites have clear and straightforward URLs.

If the address looks messy or has strange characters, it might be a red flag.

Over 60% of fake websites have suspicious URLs.

3. Check Domain Age and Registration

Imagine a trustworthy business – it’s been around for a while, right?

Well, websites are similar.

If a site claims to be a long-standing business but the domain is brand new, it’s fishy.

About 20% of fraudulent websites are less than a year old.

4. Investigate Contact Information

Would you trust a shop without a contact number or address? Probably not.

Legit websites have clear contact information. If it’s missing, be cautious.

Shockingly, 68% of scam websites don’t provide any contact details.

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5. Evaluate Website Design and Quality

Picture this: a high-end store has a polished and professional look.

Websites should be the same.

If a site looks outdated, has broken links, or has poor design, it could be a sign of trouble.

A whopping 94% of people mistrust websites with poor design.

6. Look for Spelling and Grammar Errors

Imagine walking into a store with misspelt signs – it wouldn’t give you confidence, right?

Similarly, a legit website cares about details.

If you spot a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes, it might be a sign of a scam.

Around 85% of scam websites have noticeable language errors.

7. Review User Reviews and Testimonials

Think of online reviews as word-of-mouth recommendations.

Legit websites often have positive reviews from real users.

If you can’t find any reviews or they seem too good to be true, be cautious.

Approximately 90% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to trust a business.

8. Examine Social Media Presence

Legit businesses like to connect with their customers on social media.

If a website claims to be a popular brand but has a ghost town social media profile, it’s suspicious.

Over 70% of internet users are active on social media, so a real business would likely have a presence there.

9. Verify Trust Seals and Certifications

Trust seals are like online certifications vouching for a website’s credibility.

Legit sites proudly display these.

If you can’t find any or they look fake, it’s a red flag.

Shockingly, 80% of people hesitate to purchase from a site without trust seals.

10. Check for Secure Payment Options

Imagine going to a store that only accepts cash – it’s a bit sketchy.

Legit websites offer secure payment options.

If the site insists on unconventional payment methods or lacks secure payment symbols, it’s a warning sign.

About 60% of users abandon a purchase if their preferred payment method isn’t available.

11. Assess Website Performance and Functionality

Imagine a store with broken doors and flickering lights – it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.

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Similarly, a legit website should work smoothly.

If it’s slow, crashes, or has constant errors, it might not be trustworthy.

Studies show that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

12. Investigate Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Think of a privacy policy as the rules of engagement.

Legit websites are transparent about how they handle your data.

If a site lacks a privacy policy or it seems vague, your personal information might be at risk.

Surprisingly, 77% of users are concerned about their privacy online.

13. Scrutinize Product Descriptions and Images

Legit sellers showcase their products accurately.

If you notice mismatched descriptions or low-quality images, it could be a scam.

Online shoppers heavily rely on product images, with 22% returning items because they look different from what they expected.

14. Search for Duplicate Content

Imagine buying a unique item only to find it everywhere – it’s disappointing.

Legit websites have original content.

If you find the same content on multiple sites, it could be a scam.

Google penalizes duplicate content, and it can hurt a website’s credibility.

15. Verify Company Information on External Sources

Legit companies are part of a bigger picture.

If the website’s information doesn’t match what’s on external sources like business directories, it’s suspicious.

Reliable companies want accurate representation.

Cross-referencing information is crucial, 67% of consumers lose trust in a brand if they find incorrect business information online.

16. Use Online Scam Databases

Think of online scam databases as superhero archives.

Legit websites are like heroes, and these databases keep track of the villains.

If a site appears in these databases, it’s likely a scam.

Over 80% of scams are repetitive, and these databases help spot them.

17. Check Website’s Reputation on Security Platforms

Imagine checking a restaurant’s hygiene rating before dining there.

Similarly, security platforms rate websites based on their safety.

If a site has a low rating, it might be risky.

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Studies show that 87% of consumers won’t do business with a company if it has a low trust score.

18. Watch for Unusual Pop-ups or Redirections

Legit websites are like well-organized stores without surprise exits.

If a site bombards you with strange pop-ups or redirects you unexpectedly, it’s a red flag.

A whopping 90% of phishing attacks start with a misleading pop-up or redirect.

19. Explore the About Us Section

Picture meeting a new friend and wanting to know more about them.

Legit websites share their story in the “About Us” section.

If it’s missing or seems fake, the website might not be genuine.

Over 70% of online shoppers say they look for information about a company before making a purchase.

20. Consult Web Browser Security Warnings

Web browsers act like your personal bodyguards online.

If a website triggers a security warning, your browser is trying to protect you.

Ignoring these warnings can lead to trouble.

Browser warnings prevent around 25 billion risky visits every month.

21. Assess Customer Support Responsiveness and Authenticity

Imagine calling a hotline and getting no response – not a good sign, right?

Legit websites value customer support.

If emails go unanswered or there’s no clear way to contact support, it raises suspicions.

Quick and helpful customer support is crucial for building trust online.

Wrapping Up – How to Check Website is Legit or Fake

Making sure a website is real and not a scam is really important these days.

You can do this by checking the website’s web address, making sure it has a secure connection, looking at what other people say about it, and paying attention to how the website looks overall.

It’s also helpful to use trustworthy online tools.

It’s up to each person to be careful, stay informed, and use these tips to figure out if a website is legit or fake.

This way, we can all make the internet a safer place.